Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Here we are again. Helen and her boys left yesterday morning, to drive to Newcastle to catch the ferry to Amsterdam. Today they plan to drive a long way south, to an old friend in France where they will stay a day or two. Everything is very quiet here.


I got back to grips with life after they left, and am now nearly finished with row 94 of the Mourning Shawl border – there are 102 rows in all, plus another four in which break holes are introduced and the stitch count further reduced. So I’m making real progress.

The Rorem lace-alphabet sampler scarf pattern has arrived from the Schoolhouse. No numerals, but it does include an upside-down alphabet which will speed things along a good deal. “2011” shouldn't be difficult to confect. I must have several 2’s here and there in my notes.

Meanwhile in Strathardle I started the Japanese shirt – three times.

The first time, I decided after an inch or so that I really wasn't enjoying myself because of the long purl rows. And that was just the back. Pretty soon, once the vents were finished, the rows would be vastly longer, with the fronts attached. So I started again, in garter stitch.

I worried a lot about what the designer would think – not the Japanese one, but kind Stella who wrote the pattern for me in English. I finally found the courage to write to her, and she blessed the idea at once with what sounded like enthusiasm. So that was a great relief.

I think I probably have enough yarn – I always buy generously, because I hate worrying. I’ll reconsider that aspect of things when I finish the first skein. The spacing of the buttonholes will have to be adjusted – the pattern does it with a specified number of rows between. And the sleeveholes rejigged. I ought to be able to manage that.

The second attempt, however, seemed too wide. As it happened, I had the recently-completed Round-the-Bend along, whose size I like. The Japanese shirt was coming out substantially wider (Japanese designer’s choice). So I started again, and narrowed it somewhat. Here’s where I am – that’s the back, a few rows short of the point at which I stop and cast on one of the fronts.

The madeleinetosh yarn is simply wonderful. She suddenly seems to be everywhere.


I was going to write about Oedipus but there isn’t time this morning.

Today’s excitement is – should be – the arrival of an iPad 2, James’ and Cathy’s wonderful birthday present to me. Parcelforce have got it, for now. I am beside myself. If I can make it go, I will start by buying a book (the new Ruth Rendell, I think) and seriously consider subscribing to Piecework. No more clutter! Thomas-the-Elder has one, on which he reads the New Yorker and the Economist.


  1. We got my mom an iPad last year. She is way less computer literate than you and she loves it. Because she is disabled it is easier for her to buy books on it than to deal with getting to the bookstore and she merrily surfs the net all day and reads her political news (she is a political news junkie). i hope you enjoy it!

  2. Happy Birthday - I have an ipad on my wish list for sure. The new Ruth Rendell is on my waiting list at the library as well. Enjoy.

  3. Hmm - this just might be the impetus for my husband's birthday present. Rumours are afoot.

  4. Maureen In Fargo8:45 PM

    My mom wanted an iPad in the worst way and got one. She struggles with it because things are done differently on it than the computer, which she's been using for 4 years or so. My husband and I both have them but we're 1500 miles away from her so help is not easy. She is learning but is very impatient and a little frustrated. Just give yourself time to get used to it, it's just a bit different from using a computer, I'm sure you'll love it!

  5. Happy Birthday - did the vegetable cage materialise?
    I was sorry to hear about the Japanese shirt issues. Will garter stitch drape in the same way? And what about the textural contrast at the edges?